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About Us: Our History

Rotaplast International, Inc. was founded in 1992 by Dr. Angelo Capozzi and the then Rotary Club President Peter Lagarias in collaboration with the Rotary Club of San Francisco to facilitate a surgical program in La Serena, Chile to treat children with the cleft lip and palate anomaly who would otherwise not receive surgical intervention. This initial historic mission took place in January of 1993.

As a project of the Rotary Club of San Francisco, and for the first three years of its existence, Rotaplast completed one surgical mission a year. Dr. Capozzi and other volunteers at opening day clinicThe following two years, Rotaplast completed two missions a year. In 1996, Rotaplast became a separate non-profit corporation and has since consistently expanded its number of annual missions. In June 2012, Rotaplast sent its 175th mission and to date has served over 15,000 children. Twenty-four countries have hosted Rotaplast teams, including Vietnam, Colombia, Chile, Argentina, Mexico, Venezuela, Bolivia, Peru, Guatemala, Ecuador, El Salvador, Romania, China, Ethiopia, India, Nepal, Brazil and the Philippines. Hundreds of medical and non-medical volunteers who give their valuable time, and generous organizations such as hospitals and medical equipment companies which give supplies, account for the consistent success and expansion of Rotaplast missions.

Rotaplast would not exist without funding provided by partners. Although a San Francisco-based organization, Rotaplast works nationally and internationally by partnering with Rotary Clubs, other organizations, and individuals across the United States, Canada and mission sites. It provides a vehicle for medical professionals and non-medical volunteers to actively engage in projects that build international friendships and promote goodwill and understanding among the peoples of the world.

Highlights & Accomplishments


Rotaplast becomes a separate non-profit corporation.     


Rotaplast expands missions from 2 to 4 per year and hires an Executive Director.


Rotaplast operates on its 1000th child in Cumana, Venezuela.


Rotaplast expands its core program to include genetic research.


Rotaplast establishes a Prevention and Treatment Center in Mendoza, Argentina.


Rotaplast begins working in Asia.


Rotaplast facilitates its first mission to India.


Rotaplast completes its 80th Mission and reaches over 8,000 children by year’s end.


Rotaplast expands to Africa with an inaugural mission to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.


Rotaplast operates on its 10,000th child in Cumana, Venezuela.


Rotaplast visits Nepal and Brazil for the first time in its history.


Rotaplast travels to Egypt for its first mission in the Middle East.


Rotaplast completes its 150th Mission, in Dessie, Ethiopia.


Rotaplast travels to Chittagong, Bangladesh for the first time.


Rotaplast operates on its 15,000th child on its first Mission to Bamako, Mali.


Rotaplast travels to Monrovia, Liberia and New Delhi, India for the first time.